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Monkeypox Business

Monkeypox Business

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

With daily news of rising numbers of Monkey Pox infections, we assess the risk and suitable response for employers.

With breaking news of a new virus and case numbers rising it’s not surprising many fear a 2nd pandemic and yet further disruption to lives that are just beginning to get back to normal.

The good news is that this is not only a rarely experienced virus outside of West Africa but it also far less contagious than Coronavirus and far less life threatening with symptoms for the vast majority infected being mild.

In the workplace it would be advisable to make the following information accessible for staff and to ensure that all are aware of the symptoms and the need to isolate even if they don’t feel unwell. The isolation period for Monkeypox is 21 days.

The reason for isolation is that the virus can cause severe illness in certain individuals. The guidance is clear as anyone with symptoms should avoid contact with those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant, and children (school year 6 and under).

If staff can work from home during isolation they should do so.

Further details can be found here.

Unless the employee is too unwell to work SSP will not be payable for the isolation period however if an employer requests that a member of staff isolate due to their proximity to someone with Monkeypox they should ensure they are on full pay for the 21 days. If the employer fails to provide full pay to an employee asked to isolate who cannot work from home, there’s a risk of them bringing a claim for unlawful deduction of wages.

The best approach for employers and employees is to cover the time self-isolating so as not to run the risk of a member of staff turning up to work when its advised not to simply because they’re worried about losing income.

NHS Guidance – Monkeypox in the UK

Proportionately a very small number of people in the UK have had monkeypox and the risk remains low.

You’re extremely unlikely to have monkeypox if:

  • you have not been in close contact (such as touching their skin or sharing bedding) with someone who has monkeypox or has monkeypox symptoms
  • you have not recently travelled to west or central Africa

Symptoms of monkeypox

If you get infected with monkeypox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear.
The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • a high temperature
  • a headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands
  • shivering (chills)
  • exhaustion

A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. This can include the genitals.
The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off.

The symptoms usually clear up in a few weeks.

Treatment for monkeypox

Monkeypox is usually mild, and most people recover within a few weeks without treatment.

But as the infection can spread through close contact, it’s important to isolate if you’re diagnosed with it.

You may be asked to isolate at home if your symptoms are mild.

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